Key Observations from Microsoft Ignite 2018

It was a great event at Microsoft Ignite this year.  We saw an awesome keynote by Satya Nadella (as usual), some great demonstrations of technology from Microsoft and others, and had fantastic conversations with many of our customers and partners.

In this post, the Nintex product marketing team shares some observations and takeaways we brought back from Orlando.

1.  Success through Partnership with Lines of Business

Although the event had a strong IT focus, there was a distinct thread about partnering with line of business (LOB) counterparts to achieve digital transformation throughout organizations.

Rather than the expected “IT versus LOB” view, it was refreshing to see many of the sessions and discussions centered on more of a middle ground approach. A key area of focus was the idea of making it easier for the LOB to secure necessary resources while ensuring governance and security.

This is where nimbler, partnership-driven IT organizations can really stand out. By installing necessary guardrails to set up their LOB partners for success and empower them to push ahead, IT can focus on digital transformation, and stakeholders will no longer feel the need to fire up Shadow IT projects to get their jobs done.

2.  IT is Moving Beyond Digital Transformation to Efficient Transformation

In talking to so many IT pros this week, it’s clear that the focus has moved beyond just ‘we need to digitally transform’ to ‘we need to do this right’.  It’s definitely a maturation.

Companies used to simply scramble to find a solution for transforming, but now they are taking a closer look at their processes and their approach to transformation.  So many companies have gone down a road with coded BPM solutions and struggled to gain adoption across the organization, or leveraged RPA bots but are now questioning how many and where these are needed.

It’s great to see IT using their unique qualifications to closely evaluate solutions – a lot of fantastic best practices will come from this.

3.  The Rise of the Best-of-Breed Era

Over the past few decades, there has been a rise and fall of interest in either best-of-breed or single-provider environments. Now, organizations are increasingly using hundreds of solutions – both in the cloud and on-premises.

Throughout the event, we were surprised by the sheer number of sessions focused on managing these best-of-breed applications and the complex environments they create. Whether it’s connecting new tools employees insist on using, or the spanning legacy infrastructure to the cloud, there’s a lot to consider.

Even the pinnacle of best-of-breed applications can only do so much working in siloed environments. Connecting these systems with a strategic focus is key to realizing the most benefit.

Watch Nintex’s Intelligent Process Automation Speed Round session – 15 Relevant Use Cases in 15 Minutes:

Click here to download the slides from our Speed Round session at Ignite. 

4.  Orchestration is Crucial to Transformation

In Nintex’s partner session, we had a chance to demonstrate the real power of integration and orchestration.

Many processes involve multiple systems of record (OneDrive, Dynamics, Adobe Sign, etc.), and process automation tools (Modern Forms, Mobile Apps, DocGen®, etc.) are designed to leverage them. This alone requires orchestration. But add new AI tools (RPA, OCR, text analytics, machine learning systems, etc.), and orchestration becomes crucial.

We had a great time showing how Advanced Workflow does this. We took our audience through a sophisticated process with all of the behind-the-scenes tasks completely automated using the systems, tools, and AI capabilities listed above.

If it’s done right, process automation creates internal efficiency and improves the speed, accuracy, and responsiveness we strive to deliver to the end customer.

Watch our session below:

Click here to download the slides from our partner session at Ignite.

5.  A Continued Shift from On-Premises to a Cloud/Hybrid Environment

A number of attendees were committed to shifting workloads and applications from an on-premises model to the cloud. While on-premises solutions are still necessary in certain cases, there was a definite understanding that most technological innovation is in the cloud. 

Naturally, this brings about the opportunity to build a hybrid environment, as well as the need for tools to connect these resources.

6.  Technology Companies are Focused on Application

At a tech convention, you expect to see everyone showing off their latest capabilities. But we were surprised to see a lot of companies focusing less on new technology and much more on applying existing technologies.  Another great sign of maturation.

Microsoft and others had numerous sessions showing the application of, for example, many of the Azure Cognitive Services capabilities and how they can be used to help automation processes.  There’s a lot of great customer centricity in that, and we’re huge fans of seeing technology really make a difference in people’s lives.

 7.  Nintex and Microsoft are Better Together

We really enjoyed seeing Nintex win two Microsoft Office App Awards this year!  We were awarded ‘Best Overall App’ for Nintex Workflow for Office 365, and Nintex Forms for Office 365 won first place for ‘Most Business Value’.  It’s great to be recognized for how much of a difference we make to our customers, and to be singled out among so many great apps.

8. Final Thoughts

We also thought the new Microsoft, Adobe, SAP partnership to create the Open Data Initiative has a ton of potential. When done well, process intelligence can improve internal efficiency and create a superior end-customer experience.

The idea of pooled customer data that can be used to make every company’s customer interactions more intelligent is really exciting; it’s easy to see how leveraging this data throughout workflows via a simple API could open the door for many industries to create rich and simple experiences for their customers.


That’s a wrap on Ignite 2018.  Thanks to everyone who came to interact with us in Orlando –  we hope to see everyone at Ignite next year!


Jason Tillman

Jason is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Nintex. He works closely with multiple departments at the company to define and communicate the strategy and benefits of the Nintex Platform.

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